Review of the Chainsmokers’ “Memories: Do Not Open”

The Chainsmokers debut album "Memories: Do Not Open" was dropped last week and has already received various mixed reviews. (Kat Ober/Creative Commons Flickr)

The Chainsmokers have released an album that seems to have unwittingly caused a strong divide in the music industry. Their debut album, “Memories: Do Not Open,” was dropped this past week on April 7 and has already amassed numerous mixed reviews. As an avid listener of electronic music, I can confidently say that the Chainsmokers produced an album that shows their hard work and passion and contains a variety of unique tracks.

Surprisingly, this album wasn’t supposed to happen. Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, the duo behind the Chainsmokers, released an open poll to their fans in January asking if they should put together an album. When the overwhelming final answer was yes, the duo got right down to business—and put together the album in just a month, which makes me believe they had the idea for a while and just let their fans set it in stone. Evidence: the album’s lead single, “Paris,” was released on Jan. 13, and the idea of an album was teased on Jan. 29.

Is this the greatest album of 2017? That’s up for debate, but it’s definitely a contender. Many negative reviews will focus on the seemingly repetitive production of the songs and, more prominently, Taggart’s vocals in six of the 12 songs.

While the Chainsmokers may have a unique sound, the songs on this album have transcended the production that they have previously shown us; not one song on the album sounds too similar or reflects a previous hit track. I appreciate the new artistic styles the duo chose in each of the 12 songs; they work and are great standalone pieces.

It’s also no secret that Taggart is not the most polished singer in the industry, but it seems unfair to drag him underwater for his first experience with singing—especially since he has shown tremendous growth as a singer and even live performer in the past year.

Taggart’s voice warranted no issues on the album; instead, it helped this album take on a more personal vibe. With “Memories” we are able to not only hear the collaborations we know the Chainsmokers for, but also the voice of the a man who usually works behind the music. I have nothing but respect for Taggart for putting himself out there like this, and ignoring the jabs at his singing abilities.

As far as Taggart’s vocals versus featured vocalists, I think the Chainsmokers did a fantastic job delegating that. We get three songs entirely of Taggart singing, three songs of Taggart and an uncredited vocalist, and then six songs devoted to featured vocalists. There doesn’t seem like there’s too much of one thing; there is more than enough diversity in the tracks to keep things interesting as you travel through the album.

The album itself is solid; after listening to the whole thing, I was so surprised yet thrilled that each song had so much substance. There’s some ballads, some bangers and some vibey songs. The Chainsmokers organized their album extremely well and spread out the tempos and genres. “Break Up Every Night” is reminiscent of a pop rock band, while “Wake Up Alone” is more of a chill trap track. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.


The Chainsmokers are labeled as “generic” and “basic” all the time, even more so with the release of their debut album, but I think a lot of this hate is unwarranted. Taggart and Pall are like any other artist in the industry—they want to make music and they want people to enjoy it. As a personal supporter of the Chainsmokers, I’ve seen how much effort and passion they’ve put into this album, and it all shows. As unbiased as possible, they deserve whatever success they get.


Ryan Amato is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ryan.amato@uconn.edu.